Dutch seize paintings, gold in international hunt for tax evaders

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Dutch investigators have seized paintings, a gold bar and jewellery and arrested two people as part of a international hunt for tax evaders, after receiving a tip-off about 55,000 suspect accounts at a Swiss bank, prosecutors said on Friday.

The country's office for financial crimes prosecution (FIOD) said the coordinated raids began on Thursday in the Netherlands, Britain, Germany, France and Australia.

The Dutch are "investigating dozens of people who are suspected of tax fraud and money laundering", the prosecutors said in a statement.

Suspects deposited money in an unidentified Swiss bank and did not disclose that to authorities, the statement said.

Spokeswoman Wietske Vissers said the investigation would "continue for days and weeks" across the various countries. The Netherlands is investing 3,8000 Dutch leads.

The FIOD said it seized administrative records as well as the contents of bank accounts, immovable property, jewellery, a luxury car, expensive paintings and a gold bar from houses in The Hague, Hoofddorp, Zwolle and the municipality of Venlo in the Netherlands.

The people arrested, one in The Hague and one in Hoofddorp, were not identified.

Vissers referred questions about investigations in the other countries to their national police and to Eurojust, the European Union agency that coordinates cross-border prosecutions, for further information.

Eurojust could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Dutch government has passed information to the other countries about 55,000 suspect accounts at the bank.

Vissers said she would not publicly disclose the name of the Swiss bank involved.